Tonight we welcome artist from New York who’ve been devoted to the development and presentation of Peter Adrian Cohen’s biographical drama, TO PAY THE PRICE, about the life and death of Yoni Netanyahu. It’s a unique company that rallies around a script and a director, in this case the estimable Robert Kalfin, and follows a play from one city to the next, in order to share its message and impact with a new audience. The play moved many when presented last season in NYC. The author has a useful introduction in his manuscript we share with you below:
Author’s Introduction and Acknowledgment:
As I am writing this play the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians goes on and on. There have been a number of good plays that show how hard it is to be a young Palestinian. This play shows the other side – how hard it is to be a young Israeli.
“To Pay the Price” is based on the life of Jonathan “Yoni” Netanyahu, killed at age 30. He was part of the famous rescue operation at Entebbe in 1976.
But this play is also very much about the present.
When I listened to those who fought at Entebbe, their fate seemed to repeat itself in the fate of their children, and their children’s children as if I were sitting in a hall of mirrors. What I heard was a story of generation after generation of young Israelis go- ing off to fight yet another and still another war. And I began to understand what that does to them; and the price they pay.
I found their words so complete, so bold that I decided not to have them re-enacted on stage in the conventional way; instead the soldiers (and the woman in Yoni’s life) simply tell what happened – what happened then; and what continues to happen now.
In this play: All the words spoken by Yoni are his own; most taken from letters he left behind*; some recalled by friends and acquaintances. Much of the material on the operation at Entebbe comes from the book “Yoni’s Last Battle” in which Yoni’s brother, Iddo, re-counts those last days – a gripping story, filled with telling detail.
* Another major portion of material comes from interviews I did in Israel. In order not to end up with too many characters, I combined similar testimony by different people under a single name. The character of EYTAN is entirely fictional – but his testimony is not.
Other sources used in the play:
** “Self-Portrait of a Hero – The letters of Jonathan Netanyahu, 1963 – 1976”; Random House, New York, 1980.
*** Iddo Netanyahu: Yoni’s Last Battle – the Rescue at Entebbe, 1976; translated from Hebrew by Yoram Hazoni; Gefen Books, Jerusalem and New York; 2002.
* * *
Monday night sees us returning to the work of Savyon Liebrecht, whose APPLES FROM THE DESERT and THE BANALITY OF LOVE we presented in May, 2010 at the Embassy. Will share thoughts and comments about presenting this work at the Embassy in the days to come… And we’ll look forward to comments and responses from others.